Jamie Geller's Blog

 

Living in Israel – It is Just Beautiful

 

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The place and the people here are just beautiful

I had one of the most special experiences the other day.  Now that I live in Israel you may expect me to talk about things like…


 

Zucchini Latkes with Tzatziki

 

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My recent obsession with zucchini knows NO bounds.  I make the Zucchini Spaghetti from the summer issue of the magazine almost weekly.  And for lunch, when I am in a rush (which I always am) I just julienne some Zucchini, quickly sauté it and top it with a little marinara and grated Parm.  It’s not unheard of that both my lunch and dinner, on any given day, feature this member of the squash family that looks like a cucumber’s cousin.

The infatuation all started with my commitment to eat right (zucchini is a “free” veg on most healthy eating plans) and my handheld julienne peeler.  I cried when we had to part ways for 6 weeks when I moved to Israel, Hubby put it on the lift, I wanted to bring it in my makeup case.


 

My (Not So) Tiny Gift of Life – Chanukah...

 

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The best Chanukah Gift I ever received weighed exactly 9 pounds, 7 ounces, and was 22 inches long. That was three years ago, when my son was born on the fifth night. We named him Avraham Yitzchak after both of my grandfathers, two strong, warm human beings—and both exceptional chefs! AY’s Chanukah/ first haircut/ Birthday Party will include festive delights that are kid-friendly, yet so elegant even my gourmet grandfathers would be impressed!

Join our family celebration with this Chanukah menu:


 

Savory & Fried – 4 Hanukkah Recipes ...

 

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It’s that time of year when deep frying is practically a mitzvah! So even if you usually avoid deep-fried foods, I say go with the flow and embrace the customs of the holiday.  You’ve got eight guilt-free nights to savor these sizzling delights—it would almost be a sin not to.

Caraway Noodle Pancake

Caraway Noodle Cakes with Red Cabbage


 

My Favorite Stuffing Recipes

 

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So I never heard of stuffing being called dressing until I met my mom-in law.  Granted I never cooked till then either.  Mom-in-law differentiates the two by explaining that stuffing is cooked in the bird and dressing on the side.  Further research (read google) shows that Joy of Cooking (with whom Joy of Kosher is NOT affiliated) confirms her definition but The Food Lover’s Companion, one of America’s best-selling culinary reference books, uses the terms interchangeably.  So being the peacemaker that I am, I like to satisfy both opinions by cooking my stuffing/dressing in the bird and extra dressing/stuffing in a casserole dish, on the side. Truth be told I do this more so I can load it up with tons of mushrooms, which Hubby and the kiddies don’t like.  Well at least we can all agree that we love the Thanksgiving meal, mushrooms notwithstanding.

You know it so happens that I am both genetically predisposed to my affinity for Turkey day and married into it.  On the DNA side, my immigrant mother loves Thanksgiving so much that when she was due with my sister within days of the big Thursday she insisted my grandparents make her the entire meal, earlier in the month, just in case.  Well who were they to argue with a lady in her 3rd trimester.  So they dutifully prepared the full on Thanksgiving spread for her.  My dear sister didn’t show up until the end of December (someone, somewhere calculated wrong… momma vehemently denies planning this) so in 1980 my mom had the special zchus of enjoying 2 Thanksgiving meals.  My immigrant grandparents really made the best Thanksgiving food I have ever had in my life.  And you know I have eaten my way around this world.  They completely embraced American culture and customs and had the added benefit of being born intuitively knowing how to cook.  I so desperately miss their food, their table, their gravy!!!!  And they ALWAYS had mushrooms in their stuffing.


 

Turkey Day in the Holy Land *Giveaway*

 

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My friend Rachel, a new oleh from Jersey, having made aliyah just weeks before us, emailed me with an idea.  She’s one of those types, so many great ideas, so little time.  Anyhoo Rachey emails me and writes, and I quote: “I have a project idea for you that I think would work NEXT year, but would be a great PR opportunity, which is “A Jamie Geller Thanksgiving” in Israel, for Americans living here. Think about it. Lots of Americans make Thanksgiving dinner just for fun.”

And I wonder why after all this time people don’t get that I want OUT of the kitchen.  I politely email Rachel back – as politely as one can type “there is no way in this world or any other that I want to turn myself into a caterer.”


 

My Soy Cinnamon Hot Cocoa Trick

 

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I have been stressed (did you read about my oven?).  And unfortunately I don’t have the gift of losing my appetite under such situations.  I just want to eat.  First savory then sweet, then savory again then back to sweet, you know the game I’m sure.  Between the holidays, the move and all the changes I have definitely gained a few unwanted pounds, in more than a few unwanted places.  I am really bummed about it but am trying to focus on bringing my life back under control this month including my eating.

A little trick I use is this hot cocoa.  When I want something sweet and need to tell my body “we are done eating” and it’s time to “stop and step away from the refrigerator” – I have always found this filling hot drink is my friend.


 

DIY – Make Your Own Greek Yogurt *Giveaway*

 

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Because we are new olim, Hubby started going to Ulpan. As you probably know, that’s a crash course in spoken Hebrew, but the immediate payoff is a circle of friends – people who are as clueless as you are about how to say in perfect Hebrew, “I think I’m on the wrong bus and I don’t want to go to Solomon’s Mines.”  At least, you’re supposed to learn how to say this fast enough to get off before the bus hurtles into the Negev.

A true Israeli, the Ulpan teacher has a habit of introducing inexplicable grammar rules with the preface “This is how it is; if you don’t like it, start a revolution.” Now of course this all goes down in Hebrew but the word for revolution she uses is “revolutzia.” That’s not one of my classic vocab words from 6th grade Hebrew class, but I love the sound of it.


 

Butternut Squash and Arugula Pizza

 

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I often talk about how Hubby and I are polar opposites.  In food and in life.  And at the pizza shop.

He is a crazy connoisseur of all things pizza and has his favorite shops and favorite toppings and even knows exactly what time to show up where for the freshest out of the oven pie and the best selection.  He likes plain, Sicilian and Chicago.  He likes ziti, onion rings, spicy fries and falafel balls ON (yes you read right ON!) his pizza.  He also douses his pizza in tahina.


 

My New Kitchen Confessions

 

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The truth.

Israel is amazing.


 

Simple Starters That Impress

 

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First Impressions – Excite your company from the get-go with these simple starters

You won’t catch me moving into the kitchen for a full month before a Yuntif, catching my zzz’s between kitchen timer alarms. But that doesn’t stop me from kicking off each meal with an impressive dish. You can do it too! Go for one simple starter that makes a bold statement in taste and appearance.


 

Joy of Aliyah – The Finale – Living...

 

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Thank you to everyone for sharing this journey with us.  There was no way for us to know how many of you would be touched by this series and surprisingly how meaningful and helpful your comments have been.  To all of you who have taken the time to express your feelings, in writing through comments, tweets and blog posts  – you must know, and I can’t say it enough times – what strength it has given us as a family.  This one experience has drawn us all (and I mean you, my Joy of Kosher/Aliyah Family) closer and for that I will be forever grateful.  I will do my utmost to continue to share our experiences here on JoyofKosher.com through blog posts, recipes and videos so that we may all live the dream together.  While this is the finale episode, I promise you this is not the end… it is only the beginning.

With love and best wishes for a Great Shabbos and a Gmar Chasima Tova
Jamie and Family


 

Joy of Aliyah – The Israel Lift Teaser

 

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Mazel Tov! Our lift has arrived. Hubby and I had a bet going… how much of our furniture would end up on the curb in Israel due to lack of space. Well I will have you know we both lost! So far we have found a home, albeit a cozy home, for just about everything save for one dresser. It’s still moving around looking for a permanent spot.

There were something like 400+ items that were unloaded from our 40ft lift, in the span of about 4 1/2 hours. You gotta check out the video to see how one of the movers balances a box on his neck – he apparently has been doing this a looong time my friends.


 

Honey Sesame Glazed Chicken – Honey Recipe...

 

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Honey is the most universal symbol of Rosh Hashanah.  As everyone looks to wish one another a Sweet New Year.  We take that phrase for granted as we have heard it so many times over for so many years running but it is such a beautiful wish.  We use adjectives like good and great and wonderful to describe experiences, hopes and dreams but sweet is a quite beautiful word, for me, it conveys something more than the commonly used positive adjective, it conveys something warm, something homey.

Date and Honey Glazed Chicken Thighs

Date and Honey Glazed Chicken Thighs


 

Joy of Aliyah – Welcome to Israel Episode

 

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This episode takes a look at our first 2 weeks in Israel.  We leave the airport, fried and crying (well at least me and my two youngest kiddies were cranky) and fall asleep on the 45 minute cab ride to our new home, Ramat Beit Shemesh.  As we pull up to our house for the first time I notice the beautiful tree lined street and the u-shaped complex of cottages around a parking lot-courtyard that will be my new address.

My sister-in law Devorah and her husband Rabbi Maslin and 6 kids are there to greet us (my other brother-in-law Greg and sister-in-law Chanie and their 6 gorgeous kids met us at the airport!).  Devorah was so considerate and set up a table with bagels (where’s the pita?!), cream cheese and fresh cut up veggies.  We all downed it, again while I was crying.  I was just so emotional, and overall completely drained.